Getting Back into the School Routine in 2016!

back to school routine


The lovely long Christmas summer holidays are the perfect chance to break from routine and have some fun! It’s a time to reconnect with family and friends, sleep in, stay up late, eat more “treat” foods, travel to exciting destinations and forget about time for a while. But how do you adjust to getting back into the work/school routine when it’s all over? If you are anything like me, it’s a huge struggle! By now, some parents are probably at the end of their tether after having their children at home for six weeks and are looking forward to getting back to routine; whilst others have loved the chance to spend more quality time with their children and are not quite ready. Either way, the change is coming so here are just a few tips to make it all a little easier:

•Try getting back into a routine with sleep times, bath times, meal times and other regular activities at least one week before school resumes. This will help your children’s body clocks adjust to the rhythm of routine and make the transition less stressful.

•Get them to have a look at their calendar/planner (as suggested in Help your child achieve their dreams for 2015!). They can use it to count down the days until school begins so that they have comfort in knowing when and what will take place. They can also use it to get organised for the next week.

•Help them to get excited about the impending term by talking about what is coming up e.g. excursions, parties, swimming lessons, Easter, and seeing all their friends, etc and then demonstrate how to mark some of these on their calendar/planner.

•Make the first week back relaxing and try not to plan too many after school activities if possible. Getting back into a routine is tiring and it’s best to keep all other activities to a minimum.

•Give them lots of free time after school to just run outside, play and be free. Especially the first week back but as often as possible during the whole term as well.

•Plan something fun but simple for the first weekend after being back at school. It could be a movie or pizza night, a picnic in the park, or a visit with family and friends. This is something the children can look forward to if they are hesitant about going back to school and it lets them know that the fun doesn’t have to end just because the holidays do.

•Hopefully there will be no homework in the first week back (if they attend a school which believes in giving homework) but if there is, show them how to organise their week so that they can do a little at a time and it’s not overwhelming. They can use their planner to work out when best suits them.

•Make time at dinner to sit around the table together (which should be a regular occurrence anyway) and chat about their day. This helps them to communicate their feelings and bond with their family. If open communication is developed and encouraged then they will be more likely to open up to you when they have concerns or issues that they need to discuss.

•If they are at a new school or even just a new class with different students and teacher, they may be feeling a little anxious about the change. Ask them how they are feeling about the new school/teacher/class and answer all their concerns as honestly and reassuringly as you can.

More than anything just be there for your children to guide them through this change in routine as there may be a period of adjustment which might cause them to feel anxious. You may notice behaviour that is not typical for them and it could just be that they are overwhelmed and overtired with the changes. Be understanding and talk to them about their feelings. It may appear that they are just being “naughty” and playing up, but there is always an underlying reason so make sure that you investigate and be supportive. In saying all of this, your child may actually be really happy about being back at school and not have any worries or concerns at all. If they are, then that’s great but just keep these tips in mind so that you can ease them back in regardless of how you think they will – or how they do – adjust to this big change.

Happy guiding


Darling Precious Children

Starting Big School 2016!


It doesn’t seem all that long ago that you were taking your tiny newborn baby home from hospital and now all of a sudden they are starting big school! Where did that time go and how can it be possible? It can be a nervous time for parents and children but with a little planning ahead to make sure your child is emotionally and spiritually ready, it can be a lot easier.

Don’t worry if they don’t know their whole alphabet, all their numbers, or three different languages – that’s what they are going to school for! If they have been to pre-school they probably already know more than enough academic stuff to begin kindergarten anyway. Remember what I said in ‘The importance of building confidence’ – Self-esteem has a far greater impact than intelligence or ability! This is Paramount, so give them the confidence they need with some of these simple effective tips:


It is really important to make sure that your child is confident about going to the toilet on their own. They will need to know how to: lock and unlock doors, undo and do up their pants and other clothing, get onto the toilet by themselves, wipe their bottoms correctly, turn taps on and off, and wash and dry hands. Your child may already be doing all of this on their own but if not, make sure they begin now as you won’t be around at school and they need to be able to do this without you.

Dressing and Undressing

There will be times when your children will need to change for swimming, sport or even just the weather e.g putting a jumper/cardigan on and off. Let them dress themselves every morning and undress at night (if they don’t already) so that they can get the hang of it and feel completely secure by the time they start school.

Drinks and Lunches

Some children may have been making their own lunches since the age of about two and a half but if they haven’t, don’t panic. Children of five years of age are quite capable of making a sandwich and putting some fruit, yoghurt or whatever your child has for lunch into a lunch box. But even before they can do all of this, it is essential that your child is able to easily open and close the lunch box, plastic/foil wrappers, drink bottles, poppers, yoghurt containers, and eat fruit/vegetables without it having to be peeled or chopped. Also make sure that you or your child check that there is a spoon for the yoghurt or fork for rice etc so that your child does not panic when they get to lunch and there are things missing. All of this helps them to feel secure and less anxious about meal times at school.

General hygiene and Self help

Anything you can teach your child to do for themselves will make them feel more secure. Things that we take for granted like being able to: blow their own nose and wash their hands afterwards, wash hands before lunch or after outdoor or messy activities, hang their coat on a hook, put on and take off their own shoes, pack and unpack their bags etc, will all help them to feel more confident.

Manners and Communication

Saying please and thank you was once taught in each and every home but these days some adults have forgotten about basic courtesy and manners, so therefore they do not teach their children any. It’s really important that your child learns some basic manners and communication skills. This will help them in all aspects of life but particularly with meeting new people. Firstly practice good manners yourself by saying please and thank you and also by sharing, caring and turn taking etc, and then help your child learn these skills. Go through some scenarios of asking other children to play or if you can borrow something from another child etc, and role play what they could say. Be an open communicator yourself and ask your child how they feel about starting a new school. Do they have any concerns or is there anything they are unsure of? What are they really looking forward to about their new school? Then answer their questions as honestly and reassuringly as you can. This will help them to communicate with others and share their feelings.

Planning and Organisation

Teach them about planning and organising so that they are able to unpack and pack their bags and organise what they will need for the next day. Talk to them about the general sequence of the day and again ask them if they have any concerns or anything they would like to find out more about? Then answer all their questions. Read my previous post: Help your child achieve their dreams for 2015! For more information on how you can help your child plan and get organised.


Some other ways to help your child feel more secure and excited about starting big school:

•Let them make simple choices and be in control of the things that they can be in control of such as picking a new lunch box, drink bottle, pencil case, pencils etc and get them to tick these off a list. Then let them set out the things they will need for the first day. This will help them feel more enthusiastic and that they have some control.

•Visit the school and point out the swings or new classrooms etc to help children feel more familiar with the new environment.

•Start going to bed a bit earlier about a week or two before school begins. Wake your child up around 10 minutes earlier than usual and let them go to bed 10 minutes earlier each night until you have the timing right for school term.

•Find out about drop off and pick up so that you know how long you can stay the first day or if it is recommended that you leave quite quickly. Make sure you plan ahead how you will say goodbye and talk to your child about this. Will you give a quick kiss and hug and say goodbye or will you stay and wait a while until your child feels settled? Think about what your child needs. This way your child will also know what is going to happen that first day and not feel as nervous.

•If you can meet some of the other children before school starts, you might like to organise a meet and greet play time. But if not, it doesn’t matter as they will meet new friends soon enough once school starts.

•Read some good books about starting school such as: I Am Too Absolutely Small For School by Lauren Child; First Grade Jitters by Robert Quackenbush; Sam and Gram and the First day of School by Dianne Blomberg; or When you go to Kindergarten by James Howe.

Remember, school is supposed to be fun! Yes you are supposed to go there and learn but most of us who have been there and beyond realise that most of your learning actually happens after you leave school, so don’t take it all too seriously. If your child is happy, meets some friends and learns how to read, write and do a little maths then that’s all that really matters – They have a lifetime to learn the rest! Read all my previous posts to find out more about how you can positively guide your child throughout their school lives and beyond, plus stay tuned for more information on how you can do this.


Happy Guiding


Darling Precious Children

The benefits of letting your children set the table

Setting table1

Setting the table

It is really important for children to help take care of their home environment. Setting the table is just one of the many ways that children can do this.  Not just because it helps their parents, but because it is their home too and it teaches them life long skills that they will need. Here are just some of the wonderful things that your child develops by setting the table:

  • Respect – for their family, environment, and for themselves.
  • Discipline and Responsibility – It is their important job and they need to remember to do it each day.
  • Pride – feeling proud of how great they have made the table look and also that they have helped their family.
  • Maths – counting how many people will be having dinner, then counting the same amount of chairs, plates, glasses, knives, forks, spoons, napkins, and so on.
  • A feeling of Belonging – being part of a family and an environment.
  • Independence – learning valuable skills so that they can do them for themselves.
  • Confidence – mastering tasks and feeling like they have achieved something.
  • Self-esteem – they have been entrusted to do this important job for the family and in turn they feel good when they look at what they have accomplished.

Some handy tips to remember:

  • Praise them, because everyone likes acknowledgement . This doesn’t mean giving them a medal because they have done their job, it is as simple as saying ‘Thank you the table looks great.’
  • Put plates, cups, cutlery, napkins etc somewhere that is easily accessible for children.
  • If children are very young, get them to put out forks and napkins and leave the breakable or sharp items for an adult or older child to do.
  • Make this their job so that there is an expectation that they do it each night. Of course this can be flexible if they are busy doing homework one night etc, but try to get them to stick to it as much as possible.

This is just a start to helping in the home, but it has many benefits, so give it a go!

Setting the table2

Happy Guiding,


Darling Precious Children

Listening – REALLY Listening!

Listen Carefully


Listening to your children – it sounds simple really doesn’t it? But with the mountain of chores, work and running around, etc that we have to do on a daily basis, taking time to listen to our children doesn’t always take top priority. There are also many times that we appear to be listening, when really we are thinking about what we are going to cook for dinner or other things that stop us from completely focussing. Listening, really listening, means putting the phone away, turning the tv off and fully concentrating on what your child is saying. I’m blessed to be surrounded by children each day, both in my work and at home and I completely understand why we don’t always do this as well as we could – because I’m guilty of it sometimes too. But somehow in our hectic schedules we need to put this at the top of the list and here are some of the reasons why:

  • Because children need to feel like someone cares. If we don’t listen to them then they think that we are not interested in them or in what they have to say. This is so detrimental to their self esteem. They need to know that they are the most important thing in our world. Chores can wait.
  • It helps them to solve problems. If they have an issue that is worrying them or a dilemma that they don’t know what to do about, you are able to help them work it out. This is also a great opportunity to teach them skills for problem solving on their own.
  • It’s a perfect time to build bonds between you and them. Being approachable and listening effectively, helps you become closer because you are more comfortable about sharing news and spending time together.
  • It helps you to learn more about your children. You have opened the communication channels and they are sharing things with you because of it. In turn you are learning so much more about them than if you had kept the communication channels closed. How wonderful!
  • It teaches them communication skills. They are learning how to have a conversation and the important talking and listening skills that are imperative in life.
  • They are able to come to you with problems because they know that you will listen. This is so very important because they definitely will not come to you with big issues if you haven’t listened to the small ones. All issues are important to children.


  • In turn, the previous point helps to decrease the chances of developing anxiety and depression. As they say: ‘A problem shared is a problem halved!’ If children know that they can come to you and share absolutely anything, then they are more likely to work through their concerns with you. This is so important because some concerns can manifest into huge problems if they are not dealt with.


  • And most importantly – it is a precious time for you and them.


Listening – Really listening – is actually a skill that people have to work on. It requires your full concentration and attention. In addition to all the benefits to children from your effective listening are the benefits to the adults! I love sitting down with children and having a wonderful conversation about whatever is on their mind at the time. It not only helps me to understand them better but reminds me of what it is to be a child. I love their enthusiasm and passion for life. You can’t help but become a better adult by listening to children as they have so much to teach us!


Happy Guiding and Listening


Darling Precious Children